ProcSea allows you to see the fishing gear used for each batch during your purchases. Having this information before the purchase is a unique asset on the market and allows you to better understand the product received, guiding your decision-making process.
It is first worth mentioning the fact that from a regulatory point of view, a given fishing technique can be used by boats of different sizes. For example, "line" fishing gear can refer both to an 8-metre troller fishing by day and a 60-metre industrial longliner fishing in Iceland.
Fishing method and fish quality: This denomination covers fishing with rods, troll lines, and longlines, i.e. significantly different practices. Fishing with a rod or a troll allows live fish to be brought on board, where they will often then be bled and handled with care, offering optimal quality. The longline consists in leaving a line in the water where baited hooks are fixed. Depending on the time between the catch of the fish and the changing of the line, the fish can be alive and of optimal quality, but they can also drown.
A note for the fish wholesaler: The supplier will know to offer a discount on a drowned fish so as to spare you any unpleasant surprises.
A net is set on the bottom of the water for a given amount of time during which the fish will "mesh".
The quality of the fish:
The fish are generally rubbed very little, in excellent condition, with a beautiful appearance. However the most fragile species can be marked by the netting (for example Pollack). Short tides will often produce filleter fish of excellent quality. In longer tides or in bad weather fish may drown, especially if the duration of net immersion increases.
Trawling consists of two fishing methods: a net towed in open water (pelagic trawl) to catch "pelagic" fish (Sardine, Mackerel etc.), and a net towed along the bottom (bottom trawl, beam trawl) to catch "demersal" fish (Sole, Turbot, Norway lobster, Haddock etc.).
Fish quality: The quality varies greatly depending on the duration of the haul (from 1/2 hour to more than 3 hours) and the duration of the tide. As a result, a fish caught by a coastal trawler with short trawl lines can be of excellent quality and extremely fresh. When the trawl is hauled for longer, the friction in the bottom of the trawl sometimes damages the fish a little, which can lose part of their scales or go soft. It is therefore a very variable fishing method from a quality point of view, making up the bulk of volumes landed, but offering very good opportunities on occasion.
The Encircling Lift Net is also referred to as Purse Seine. The school of fish is surrounded by a circular net. Fish are brought to the surface, usually alive, before being stored on board. Most boats then use ice water tanks to store the fish. This technique is mainly used for pelagic fish: sardines, mackerel, bonito, and tuna, but it can (controversially) be used for sea bream, pandoras, mullets or bass.
The quality of the fish:
The fish are generally of an exceptional quality, brought aboard alive then immediately frozen in the icy water. If fishermen using this technique fish in schools of sea bass or sea bream, several tons of ‘Extra’ quality fish can be landed in one night, though not without destabilising prices and creating cohabitation problems.
Fishing method and fish quality:
This denomination covers both the Danish Seine and Scottish Seine but curiously not the "classic" Seine, which is in the category Encircling Lift Nets. The principle consists of forcing the fish towards the pocket of the net by using ropes encircling the fishing area. In many ways, this fishing gear is like a mix between a trawl net and encircling lift nets. This fairly productive fishing gear has been under development for several years in France (though it remains controversial on account of cohabitation issues). Its relatively low diesel consumption is a major driver of its recent development.
Fish quality: The fish are rubbed less than with trawl, and are therefore quite good quality in general. The volumes fished being high, the products generally have an excellent quality/price ratio.
Fishing method: This is passive gear, widely used for crustaceans, but also for whelks and spring cuttlefish. The prey is attracted by bait in a trap, the pot. The crustacean (or whelk) is brought up alive and can be stored on board in live tanks in case of long tides. A similar technique of fishing with traps can be used for fish, but this remains extremely rare. The quality of the fish: A gentle technique, the pot makes it possible to catch crustaceans, shellfish or cuttlefish alive. The way these are then stored subsequently (live tanks, land-based stocks, etc.) may then affect the mortality rate.
Fishing method and shellfish quality:
There are many fishing methods, varying greatly depending on the species targeted, ranging from raking for clams to using hand dredges for tellins. For some species (clams, tellins, cockles...), this is the main fishing method.
Relatively unknown, and for a long time left aside from the regulations on boat fishing, this activity actually employs many families throughout France. An activity which continues to be artisanal, this fishing method allows a great range of quality products to be caught while helping to sustain our shores.
Fishing method and shellfish quality: This is the main fishing method for king scallops, clams, and variegated scallops.
This is an active method of fishing. The shells are removed from the sediment by towed metal dredges before being harvested in bags. Some fragile shells can be broken by the impact of the dredges; these are then removed from sale. Dredged shellfish have a reputation for being fairly sandy, which can be reduced by spending time in a tank on land.
The main fishing method for some shellfish families, this fishing method can also lead to by-catches of fish, especially soles and turbots by mussel dredgers. The fish are sometimes greatly damaged by the impact of the dredges, while sometimes they are brought aboard intact and alive. Once again, the eye of the fish wholesaler proves essential at the auction house if the right opportunities are to be spotted.
Fishing method and shellfish quality: The shellfish are simply gathered by hand while diving. Once a poacher's technique, licences were gradually issued within a strict legal framework until a real industry was established. Anecdotally, it was only a few years ago that diving products became more and more popular in top restaurants, to the delight of everybody! In France, this primarily concerns abalones and king scallops. Shellfish gathered from diving have a reputation for being much less sandy than those gathered using dredges.
Photo credit : Pavillon France